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Materialism, Opposite Colored Bishops, and Kasparov's Theorem

Materialism, Opposite Colored Bishops, and Kasparov's Theorem

vbhat
Jul 7, 2009, 12:00 AM 19 Strategy

Kasparov has written about chess as a game of "material, time, and quality" on a few occasions. Material is pretty straightforward - just count up the pieces on the board. By my understanding, time refers to more dynamic factors in the position, namely development, the initiative, and so on. Quality then refers to more static factors in the position, such as the pawn structure.

At my last tournament in Montreal, my opponent, FM Sylvain Barbeau had been playing quite well, with 2.5/4 until we met in the 5th round.The middlegame was rather short in this game, as we went almost directly from the opening phase to the endgame. I had an extra pawn while he had the bishop pair at the start of the endgame, but it looked like he would be able to give up one of his bishops to regain the pawn. We'd then reach an opposite-colored bishop endgame (with rooks on the board).

Opposite colored bishops definitely have a drawing influence in the endgame when besides the bishops, there are only kings and pawns. Once there are other pieces involved though, the presence of opposite colored bishops means that if one side can whip up an attack, then the opponent will effectively be a piece down when defending certain key squares. Thus, the time factor takes on additional importance in such positions. Unfortunately for him, he forgot about the importance of the initiative, especially with the presence of opposite colored bishops on the board.

 

Question 1: What would you play after 17.Rxc5?

 

Question 2: What would you play here as Black after 21.Rg3?

 

Question 3: What would you play here as Black after 24.Rh3?

 

Question 4: What would you play here as White after 26...Ke7?

 

Question 5: What would you play here as Black after 30.Bg4?

 

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